Monday, July 10, 2006

Search of Wm. Jefferson's Congressional offices ok Search of Wm. Jefferson's Congressional offices ok

The District Court today rejected Wm. Jefferson's attacks on the search under warrant of his Congressional offices. See the decision by Chief Judge Thomas Hogan. The Speech and Debate Clause is primarily testimonial, and a search warrant is not testimonial (as opposed to a subpoena). Any attempt to introduce legislative material against him would be subject to exclusion. And the Separation of Powers argument fails, if for no other reason, because the execution of the search warrant requires the cooperation of the other two coequal branches of government.

The decision had a lot of great quotes, including:
Congressman Jefferson’s interpretation of the Speech or Debate privilege would have the effect of converting every congressional office into a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime. Such a result is not supported by the Constitution or judicial precedent and will not be adopted here. See Williamson v. United States, 28 S. Ct. at 167 (“[T]he laws of this country allow no place or employment as a sanctuary for crime.”)


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